Sunday, November 27, 2011


Here's a monster I designed for a campaign awhile ago, which is part of a set of races and monsters and prestige classes I'll post here when I haven't been designing anything new lately (like at the moment). The prestige class based on this monster definitely needs some tweaking, but for now, just the monster stats.


Tiny Magical Beast
Hit Dice:
1d10 (2 hp)
30 ft. (6 squares), Climb 30 ft.
Armor Class:
17 (+2 size, +4 Dex, +1 deflection), touch 17, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple:
Bite +7 melee (1d2-4) or Tail +8 ranged touch (1d4+1)
Full Attack:
Bite +7 melee (1d2-4) or Tail +8 ranged touch (1d4+1)
2-1/2 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks:
Force fling, force aura
Special Qualities:
Low-light vision, scent, force immune
Fort +1, Ref +6, Will +0
Str 3, Dex 19, Con 8, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 12
Climb +12, Balance +12, Jump +12, Hide +12, Move Silently +4, Survival +4
Weapon Finesse (B), Weapon Focus (Tail)
Temperate and cold forests
Pocket (2-8) or Purse (9-36)
Challenge Rating:
2-5 (Tiny)
Level Adjustment:
Piklits resemble large black squirrels, with white, socked paws, white tufts on their ears, and a white puff on the tip of their tails. These small creatures are immensely dangerous to casual travelers in the more wild forests of Oiden, as a small swarm of them can quickly disable even the most hardy of people with their ability to manipulate pure force.
Piklits are rarely aggressive for no reason, but they are fiercely protective of their winter stores and colonies. Any who trespass too closely to either may find themselves the victim of a volley of force balls.
Force Fling (Su): A piklit can fling a small ball of force up to sixty feet from the tip of its tail. This ball deals 1d4 points of damage, plus the piklit's charisma bonus (1d4+1 for the typical piklit).
Force Aura (Su): A piklit is constantly surrounded by a small aura of force. This provides them with a deflection bonus to AC equal to their charisma modifier, minimum one. In addition, they may channel their force aura into any of the following effects, losing their deflection bonus to AC and the ability to utilize another Force Aura ability for a certain amount of time, dependent on the ability used:
                Freedom of Movement: A piklit may, as a free action, give up its deflection bonus to AC to benefit from an effect     similar to the spell Freedom of Movement. This lasts up to one minute per point of the piklit's charisma bonus (one             for a typical piklit), minimum one, but the piklit loses its deflection bonus to AC and the ability to use other force            auras for ten  minutes per round he was under the effect.
                Blur: A piklit may, as a free action, give up its deflection bonus to AC to benefit from an effect similar to the spell    Blur. This may last up to a minute per point of the piklit's charisma bonus (one for a typical piklit), minum one, but    the piklit loses its deflection bonus to AC and the ability to use other force auras for a minute per round he was            under the effect.
Force Immune (Su): Piklits are immune to all force effects, unless they choose otherwise, and thus for example can walk through a wall of force, cannot be damaged by magic missiles, and ignore armor bonuses to AC from mage armor.
Skills: Piklits have a +4 racial bonus Escape Artist checks and a +8 racial bonus on Jump and Balance checks. They use their Dexterity modifier instead of their Strength modifier for Climb and Jump checks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Race - Entlings

I've always felt there was a dearth of good natural themed or druid races. In particular there is pretty much no race I can recall that is an LA 0 plant race. Obviously plant immunities are a big issue here, but I feel Warforged provide a good template for allowing heavily immune races. My one concern with the following race is that Warforged are penalized by not being able to be healed easily. I considered giving them fire vulnerability, but I feel they might be fine as is due to the dexterity and intelligence penalties. Although fast healing is largely unheard of as an LA 0 ability, I feel the limitations are such it is at best free healing when not in combat and in a natural setting - basically the equivalent of a free wand of cure light on yourself only, which is hardly anything to fuss about to my mind. Here you go!

“Can you feel the wind rustling your leaves? The power of nature flows around us and through us.”
-Oak Squall, Entling Druid
The mighty protectors of trees and forests, treants roam the woodlands seeking despoilers to thrash and buildings to crumble. Partnered alongside them are the dryads, tied with an unbreakable spiritual bond with the trees they love and are sworn to guard. These two groups have been allies for millennia, and during that time it is perhaps only inevitable that the two would find companionship with one another. Although these unions between fairies and sentient plant life do not produce offspring in any sort of traditional way, dryads and treants who have fallen in love with one another have found over the eons a way to consummate their love with the help of druidic magic, and the result of such marriages are the entlings.
Entlings look much like the trees they live amongst, but there is a strong humanoid and fey aspect to them as well. Caught between two worlds, they embrace them both, living much like a typical humanoid race but relying upon the sun and earth directly for sustenance. They tend to be slow movers and slow thinkers, with a strong philosophical bent, always pondering endlessly before acting, slow both to rise in anger and to forgive and forget. Although a few entlings are born of dryads and treant unions on occasion, they also breed true amongst themselves and so have formed communities throughout the world’s forests.

Entling Racial Traits
Entlings stand tall and willowy, with skin and hair that change color with the season and resemble bark and leaves more than any humanoid analog.  Their features are elfin where they are not slightly deformed by their roughened skin. Despite its appearance, however, their skin is considerably softer to the touch and gives just like humanoid flesh – they are a mystical amalgam of plant and animal forms.  Their bones, teeth, and fingernails are made from living wood, and their blood runs thick and clear like sap. Instead of feet and calves, however, below the knees their legs begin to fork and spread into root systems, which dig deep into the ground at all times. They wade through the earth like fisherman through a river, always deeply entwined with the land they were born to serve. Different entlings often resemble different trees – some oak, some poplar, some maple, depending on dominant plant life in the forest they were born in.

·         +2 constitution, -2 dexterity, -2 intelligence. Entlings share the hearty sturdiness of the trees they resemble, but their woody frames can be rather stiff and their mental processes flow like sap – they are not stupid, but it takes them a long time to fully absorb things. (In Pathfinder, add a +2 to Strength or Wisdom)

·         Fey: Despite appearing to be plants, entlings are actually fey. They are immune to affects that would affect both only plants and only humanoids.

·         Plant Traits: Although entlings are not plants, they share a lot in common with them. Entlings are immune to poison, sleep affects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.

·         A entling base land speed is 20 feet.

·         Low-light vision: An entling can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

·         Racial Skills: Entling have a +2 racial bonus on Profession (Herbalism), Survival, and Knowledge (Nature) checks.

·         Roots (ex) and Entrench (ex): Entlings do not walk on the surface of the land, but rather wade through the ground on their root systems. This unique form of locomotion grants them several advantages. They gain a +4 racial bonus on checks to avoid being tripped, bull rushed, or otherwise stay on their feet or maintain their location as long as they are on packed earth, loose earth, sand, or a similarly penetrable natural surface. Also, at will as a standard action they can choose to entrench themselves in the ground, rooting themselves to a single spot. This causes them to automatically succeed on checks to avoid being tripped, bullrushed, and the like, as above. However, they suffer a -4 penalty to their armor class due to the difficulty of dodging while being so anchored. In addition, if the location they are in is suitable for temperate plant growth, they gain an additional bonus. Conditions suitable for temperate plant growth are defined as being between 40 degrees 90 degrees Fahrenheit, loose or packed earth ground (not sand or stone), generally moist environment (rained in the last month), and sufficient sunlight (not currently raining, snowing, or nighttime, and out of doors). While entrenched in such a location Entlings gain fast healing 1. An entling who has entrenched themselves for at least one full hour does not need to eat or drink for twenty four hours as well. Entlings can move over stone, metal, and other rigid artificial surfaces without penalty, but do not gain any benefits of the roots ability while doing so, and cannot entrench themselves. 

·         Automatic Languages: Common, Sylvan. Bonus Languages: Elven, Gnomish, Goblin, Draconic, Terran, Aquan.

·         Favored Class: Druid

Entling Society
Entlings live in small groups deep in ancient forests, in family groups known as groves.
                Lands: Entlings live in the oldest and more unsettled of forest, usually in close association with both treants and dryads. They usually do not claim any specified region or area, but try to peacefully coexist with those around them. Although they greatly love the forests in which they dwell, they tend not to be as ardent protectors of the forest as treants or dryads, rather leaving those jobs to their more powerful progenitors and seeking instead to nurture and cohabitate with nature.
                Settlements: Entling communities usually consist of a particular line of entlings formed from the union of a dryad and a treant. Although entlings will occasionally move from forest to forest, most stay within their home communities. Entlings usually do not build houses, although some communities will encourage plant growth to form into shelters, and use druidic magic to fashion other tools and items of technology from still living plants.
                Power Groups: Leadership in entling communities is usually held by the oldest and wisest of the entlings, typically a high level druid. Occasionally a treant or dryad will lead a community as well, although usually they live in parallel rather than ruling over the entlings. Entlings consider themselves all part of a larger community as well, and when decision for the whole of them must be made a council consisting of the oldest and wisest druids meets to determine what must be done.
                Beliefs: Most entlings follow druidic religious tradition, although worship of other natural gods is not unheard of. Obad-Hai is a particular favorite, but almost any natural deity is worshipped to some degree. Some entlings are also followers of the Seelie Court.
                Relations: Entlings tend to live peacefully with all their neighbours. It is rare for entlings to directly interact with anyone who is not a denizen of their own forest, however, and so humans, halflings, and other more urban races rarely interact with them. Orcs, goblins, and other savage races often take advantage of the peaceful nature of entling communities, but their treant and dryad protectors usually cause the savage races to regret their attacks.
Entling Characters
Entling characters are usually driven by curiosity about the world outside their forests, and an urge to see more of the natural world. Entlings often follow the druidic path, although there are some who pursue almost any imaginable path to adventure – although Entling wizards are rare as they do not display much aptitude. Entling NPCs are likely to be sedentary but welcoming to any travelers, eager to learn more about the outside world.
                Adventuring Hagblood: Entlings who adventure are unusual but not unheard of, and are typically interested in knowing what the world is like beyond the woodlands they call home. Entlings tend to be unselfconscious about their strange appearance and behaviors, seeing instead others as the odd ones. An entling who encounters a new practice or people will likely be slow to understand but quick to accept the odd behaviors, as they are an inherently amenable people.
                Character Development: Entlings are naturally inclined to druidic magic, but can excel at most tasks. While they do not generally have the intelligence to be wizards and lack the guile and manual dexterity necessary for the skills of a rogue, Entlings enjoy pursuing even those things for which they are not well suited and so even one who has begun their career in natural pathways may find themselves drawn to other skillsets in time. As all those in the natural world know, change is inevitable, but it comes slowly and in its own time.
                Character Names: Entling names consist of a surname and a cognomen. The surname is generally based on the grove they were born into, and typical surnames are tree species like Oak, Ash, or Elm. The cognomen, which comes second, is their given name, and is chosen themselves upon reaching the age of maturity. They are usually themed with nature in some way, but oftentimes an Entling will choose something else, depending on their personal preferences.

Roleplaying an Entling
A entlings brings a fresh perspective on everything they see. Sequestered deep in the forest for most of their lives, journeying out into the world of humanoids is exiciting and new for them, and everything should be a surprise and a fresh experience.
                Personality:  Entlings run on a slightly different timescale than the rest of us. They are slow in though, slow to react, and contemplative by nature. You are interested in all you see, but it takes you awhile to process. You are cautious by nature but also driven to new experiences. Consider always talking last, but favoring action over inaction once you decide to put your input in.
                Behaviors:  Entlings rarely need to eat unless they are in the most inhospitable of lands, but when they do they practice strict carnivory. This might come into conflict with other members of the party, even those with a naturalistic bent. Entlings see it as only natural – as a plant based life form, consuming other plants is an alien concept, but animals contain nutrients they cannot synthesize easily on their own without access to rich soil and strong sunlight, so why should they not consume them?
                Language: Entlings speak both sylvan and common slowly and deliberately. They never rush, they do not interrupt others, and nor do they take lightly to being interrupted themselves, typically continuing to speak without raising their voice. Consider adopting a monotone – it’ll help get you into practice.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A new race...

I watched the movie Practical Magic today, and although it was not really that great, it did inspire me to design a race for those enamored of the "bog witch" archetype. Enjoy!

“My daughter, the magic runs through your veins as it does through mine, and as it has for generations.”
-Mistress Valena, Hagblood witch
Deep in murky bogs lurk the feared hags, ancient monstrous crones of ineffable power, hatred, and magic. A race of females, hags disguise themselves as comely young women in order to lure unknowing men to copulate with them. The resulting children are then secretly switched for the children of other races, to be raised amongst them not knowing their true parentage for years. These are the hagspawn, also known as changelings.
Hagspawn live for approximately forty years before they undergo an awful transformation. Until this time they live as humans, elves, dwarves or other races, growing more wicked and cruel by the year but always assuming they are normal. Then, all of a sudden, their bodies explodes, twist, and deform into their true nature – that of a hag. Exulting in their new abilities and power, these hags typically engage in a murderous rampage before fleeing into the wilderness to plot, scheme, and capture people’s children for midnight cannibalistic feasts.
During those first forty years, though, many a hagspawn has gotten married, usually to a weak-willed man whom they can dominate easily, and rarely have they even spawned children. Children born before the transformation are not true hagspawn, and never undergo the transformation into a full blooded hag. These individuals, always female and known as the Hagblood, have become a race unto themselves, tainted just a tad with a touch of magical essence and insatiable hunger.
Hagblood run the gamut from shriveled old crones barely distinguishable from their hag brethren to beautiful, comely young women with just a touch of mystery. What they share with their progenitors, however, is a lust for magic, a suspicious and hermitic nature, and typically an unsavory reputation that is just as often ill-earned as not. Hagblood breed true, always birthing daughters who are also hagblood, and often live lives of sequestered loneliness for generations in the wilderness.

Hagblood Racial Traits
Hagblood resemble their humanoid parent, typically humans, although often long of limb and slender, harkening to the giant frames of true hags. As they age they tend to almost shrivel up, their spines bending sharply and limbs bowing out, transforming from otherworldly beauty in their youth to a stereotypical crone in their dotage, although individual variation does come into play and some remain beautiful throughout their lives while others begin life twisted and deformed, the hag blood running strongly through their veins. Hair, eye, and skin color vary greatly, and tend towards the exotic when young – an unusual amount of hagblood possess purple, green, or even red eyes are seen amongst them, whereas their hair and skin tend to follow that of the hag which spawned their line – blue or purple tinged for annis hags, green for green hags, and slightly jaundiced and yellow for sea hags., although variation does exist and some hagblood are virtually indistinguishable from their humanoid father’s kind. The one true mark of a hagblood, however, is their nails – long, sharp, and silvery, and made from pure iron.

·         Humanoid: Unlike hags, hagblood are of the humanoid type, and thus are fully affected by spells such as charm person.
·         A hagblood base land speed is 30 feet.

·         Darkvision: Hagblood can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and hagblood can function just fine with no light at all.

·         Racial Skills: Hagblood have a +2 racial bonus on Use Magic Device and Spellcraft checks, as magic comes easily to them.

·         Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against enchantment spells cast by hagblood. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.

·         +2 racial bonus to binding checks (see Tome of Magic) and charisma checks made with evil outsiders and undead, as the hagblood excel in wheeling and dealing with evil spirits.

·         Iron Nails: The fingernails of the hagblood are made from pure iron, although they grow much more slowly than those of a true hag. All hagblood start with Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat for which they need not meet the prerequisites, and are considered large sized when determining the damage their unarmed strikes deal.

·         Automatic Languages: Common, Giant. Bonus Languages: Infernal, Abyssal, Draconic, Orcish, Sylvan, Goblin, Elven, Gnomish.

·         Favored Class: Sorcerer or Binder if using Tome of Magic.

Hagblood Society
Hagblood live much like hags do, alone or in small coveys deep in wilderness areas.
                Lands: Often a single hagblood or unbroken female line of them will claim a swamp, forest, lake, or mountain as their own. Although they rarely welcome visitors, the reactions of individual hagblood to intruders varies accordingly with their temperament and alignment – the more benevolently inclined ones may merely ward such off with either dire but empty threats, whereas those of a more vicious bent protect their property with all sorts of devious trap and enthralled monster. Either way, typically lands inhabited by a hagblood contain few other sentient creatures, and those that do inhabit them will usually pay obeisance to the hagblood.
                Settlements: A hagblood “settlement” usually consists of a small hut, house, or compound nestled deep in the wilderness. They often live alone, but they often form covens the same way hags do, although they gain no additional powers from such arrangements, and a hagblood who has daughters almost always keeps them with her in her hermitage rather than allowing the father to raise them. Hagblood never form true communities, however, and even families that have run deep for centuries splinter and fracture so they are never in groups of more than a few individuals.
                Power Groups: Having no true cities or towns and thus no overarching government, hagblood also lack many centralized power groups. Oftentimes an individual coven will try to exert influence over the local hagblood in a region, but such efforts rarely last long. Nearly all hagblood possess magical skill of some variety, and so druids, sorcerers, wizards, and binders are fairly common, and few of these individuals would willingly bow to any other, keeping the power fractured and disperse.
                Beliefs: Hagblood often worship Ceigilune, the moon goddess mother of hags. Some also follow druidic traditions, whereas other revere Obad-Hai, Ehlonna, Wee Jas, Boccob, or similar deities of nature or magic. Clerics are rare, however, and religious worship is almost always on an individual rather than organized basis.
                Relations: Hagblood are usually reviled by the local humanoid communities as little better than the hags that spawned them, whether or not the hagblood is in fact of an evil disposition. Malicious hagblood often attract followers of the same sorts hags attract – giants, ogres, and other savage beasts willing to serve one more intelligent than they are to accomplish even more destruction. Good alignment hagblood often court cordial relationships with the local fey, but rarely command their leadership in the way evil ones do with savage races.
Hagblood Characters
Hagblood characters are typically strange, reclusive creatures searching for magical power. They may be driven by lust for revenge on the humanoid communities that rejected them, or by a morbid curiosity for the cultures which refuse them entry. The hagblood’s magical prowess makes them usually fill a spellcasting role within a party, although the sturdy nature and iron nails of their predecessors allow them to make powerful, if unlikely, unarmed combatants as well.
                Adventuring Hagblood: Hagblood are driven to adventure largely to seek power or understanding. Although some hagblood are vindictive, others understand the fear which drives the attitudes of the common folk and pity them, but all hagblood are cautious and suspicious by nature and slow to trust others, and so usually conceal their identity away from their wilderness homes. Hagblood who find acceptance in an adventuring party are likely to open up more, but it is a rare hagblood who ever becomes truly gregarious.
                Character Development: Hagblood characters do best in spellcasting classes, due to their racial bonuses with enchantment spells and magical skills. An interesting twist on a typical “witch” hagblood would be one who multiclasses into monk and goes into the Arcane Fist prestige class to put those iron nails to good use, although such an flashy, combative individual would certainly be playing against type.
                Character Names: Hagblood are named in the same way as their parent race, although hagblood who have been sequestered their entire lives in generational homesteads often favor nature or plant themed names, such as Rosemary, Dahlia, and Lily.

Roleplaying a Hagblood
With magic coursing through your veins, suspicious festering in your heart, and ambition glinting in your eye, hagblood characters are eminently passive aggressive. Always secretly grasping for more while trying to lurk unobtrusively, a hagblood should keep their motivations a secret and trust only those who have proven themselves time and time again – if then.
                Personality:  Hagblood often manifest a false persona when with others. It may be a wheedling, sweet old lady, or a vapid beauty who flounces about without any thought of the consequences of their actions. Either way, it is always a mask over their actual wants and desires. Consider developing this duality and letting the “real” you break through on occasion. Hagblood often are extremely cynical, with cutting wit as well, and a hagblood who has learned to trust their companions may in fact be less pleasant to be around than one who does not!
                Behaviors:  Hagblood are loners by nature. Many talk to themselves, or even refer to themselves in the third person offhandedly without thinking about it. Consider muttering under your breath often, or even audibly, pretending others cannot hear you and ignoring them when they question you on it.
                Language: Hagblood speak persuasively and always to an end. Do not prattle, gibber, or make small talk unless you are playing a part. You are not a social creature by nature.

I’ve decided to omit Hagblood encounters and Hagblood adventures – I think this flavor is more than enough to incorporate this race as playable into a campaign, and the place a hagblood would take as an encounter or adventure is very similar to that of a hag.